Learn more about Shannon’s book, Breaking Free: Stop Holding Back, Start Being You

I am 40 years young on Sunday and to be honest, I’m pretty darn excited about it. I’ve always loved this quote:

“Life really does begin at forty. Up until then, you are just doing research” – Carl G. Jung

In today’s post, I share the top 10 lessons I’ve learned in my 40 years, otherwise known as”my research years”:


1. Be yourself! It’s exhausting to pretend to be someone you’re not for other people and if they don’t like the real you, they don’t deserve you in their life. In my family being weird is a strength, not a weakness.


2. Chase happy. For so long I chased titles and money. While titles and money afforded me a good life, my happiness and my health took a backseat.


3. Take the time to celebrate all of your wins, no matter how big or how small. We spend way too much of our lives chasing a goal and then moving on right away to the next one without celebrating the ones we accomplish.

4. Embrace your inner child. Have you ever noticed how kids live in the moment and take in all of their surroundings? I’ve seen more wildlife in this past year than I’ve seen in a very long time – part of that is due to COVID and part of it is I stop and look around more.

5. Say yes more to your kids (as long as it’s not something stupid). If they bring you a game to play or ask you to read them a book or go to the park, put down your phone and your work and do it. Kids grow up way too fast and we don’t get that time back. Work, on the other hand, will always be there.

6. Ask for help. My parents tell me how much I loved being independent when I was young. I didn’t like asking for help and I still don’t, however, as a working mom I’ve come to learn that asking for help makes me a better mom, wife and professional. My parents and husband deserve a special shout-out here for all of their help over the past year.

7. Find your tribe and cherish them. Whether this is family members or friends, we all deserve special people in our lives with whom we can laugh, cry and be our true, authentic selves. I am beyond blessed with my tribe and I couldn’t have gotten through COVID without them.

8. Compliment yourself and others and do it often. We spend way too much time self-critiquing and focusing on what we or others could have done better. I recently had my youngest at the hospital to get a tick bite checked out. After a couple of hours, another woman in the waiting room told me “I’ve been a kindergarten teacher for years and have to tell you, you’re a wonderful mother.” Her comment made my day and had both me and the nurse welling up. This past year my parenting has been tested time and time again and even after sitting in a waiting room, with my son on his iPad most of the time, I was told I was a wonderful parent. These are comments we all need to hear more of in our lives.

9. Dream big and put it out into the universe. 3 years ago, I wanted to be self-employed and help others live happier, healthier lives. I had no clue how or when, but I put it out there day after day and this year my dream came true.

10. Your health and well-being deserve to be prioritized, not only for you but for the others in your life.

“A healthy person has a thousand wishes, a sick person has only one” – Confucius

Over the last couple of years, I’ve seen 3 of the women closest to me fight and beat breast cancer (twice for my mom), plus a dear friend’s husband who lost his battle way too young. Each of these battles reminds me just how precious life is.

Life is a gift – LIVE IT, LOVE IT, EMBRACE IT!

Yours truly,


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